Press statement: The Rivers Trust issues advice ahead of Storm Babet in Northern Ireland

A statement from The Rivers Trust with advice to the public ahead of the potential flood impacts of Storm Babet on Northern Ireland.

Matthew Woodard


The Rivers Trust has issued insight and advice to the public ahead of the potential flood impacts of Storm Babet on Northern Ireland over the next few days. Yellow weather warnings have been issued across the rest of the week for a vast swathe of the UK and Ireland, with Cork already hit by serious flooding. A more severe red warning across part of Scotland warns of a "danger to life".

The Rivers Trust All-Ireland Director Mark Horton said: “Storm Babet will bring very heavy rainfall to Northern Ireland over the next 24 hours, particularly in Antrim and Down, with the Mourne Mountains set for downpours.

“This intense deluge, particularly after a wet summer and then a period of dry weather, will impact our freshwater systems, including streams, rivers, drains and sewers, and may cause flooding and dangerous conditions.

“Levels will rise, and water will be moving quickly, so prioritise your personal safety. If you encounter flooded areas, please do not attempt to drive or walk through them. Floodwaters can be deceptive, concealing hidden dangers and swift currents, so don’t take any chances.

“During storm events, stay away from riverbanks, which can overflow or collapse quickly when the river breaches its normal capacity. And especially keep pets and children away from swollen rivers and water bodies.

“Prepare in advance the best you can and take proactive steps to protect your property and possessions. Keep yourself updated with the latest information on flood alerts, warnings, and local weather forecasts. If your property is at risk of flooding, consider relocating valuable items to higher ground and have sandbags or other flood defence measures in place.

“Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and the relevant emergency numbers are programmed into your contacts. Please check up on elderly or vulnerable neighbours to offer support and assistance.”

Storm Babet is the second major storm of the season, and as winter moves in, there are set to be more severe weather events ahead. The Rivers Trust, the leading environmental charity dedicated to protecting and conserving the UK’s and Ireland’s rivers, lakes, and waterways, urges the public to be prepared for increased flooding and to understand the causes.

Mark continued: “During storm events, several factors combine to create flood conditions in urban and rural areas. Prior rainfall events or prolonged periods of wet weather can saturate the ground, reducing its capacity to absorb additional water. This saturation results in surface runoff and increased flood risk.”

“Urban development can disrupt the natural flow of water. Paved surfaces, buildings, and stormwater drainage systems can lead to rapid runoff. At the same time, improper land use practices like deforestation and inadequate soil conservation methods can increase surface runoff, contributing to flooding.

“Where we can all make a difference to this issue is what we flush down the toilet or pour down the drains. Debris, waste, and plant growth can obstruct sewers, reducing their capacity to carry water and increasing the risk of flooding.

“Because of our changing climate and greater man-made pressures on our ecosystems, we will experience more regular storms and extreme weather events, likely leading to increased flooding in winter and drought conditions in summer.

Mark concluded: “Therefore, we must adapt our behaviour and responses to these large-scale issues through innovation and collaboration. The Rivers Trust is committed to working with communities, governments, and partners to address the root causes of flooding. Our approach includes promoting sustainable land management, restoring natural river habitats, and collaborating with relevant agencies to develop resilient flood management strategies.

“Understanding the causes of flooding is the first step in building resilience against such events. The Rivers Trust invites the public to get informed about local flood risk and engage with our efforts to protect our waterways and surrounding environments.”

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